There are people out there that I know, and I bet you do too, that are quick to pass the blame on to others. Nothing is their fault. The speeding ticket is because the officer had to make quota (is that even a thing?), the job loss is because the traffic was bad (try leaving earlier), the lost cell phone is because someone else made them mad and they threw it. The point is, some people will always blame others.
There is a whole psychology behind blaming others, also known as projection, and it’s really all about protecting one’s self, and that often is a result of low self-worth. Since I’m not an expert, I won’t get into the specifics. I find it fascinating, and if you think you want to understand it better, there is, of course, lots of information out there, including this article from Psychology Today.
Recently, I was talking with someone I’m close with who never took responsibility for anything. Their bad fortune was always someone else’s fault. And while I usually steer clear of those absolutes “always” and “never,” it was certainly true in their case. And then some upheaval in their life forced them to become more introspective, “Perhaps I am where I am, as a result of my own actions.”
Honestly, it’s an emotional roller coaster for me. Because I love this person, I’m sad to see them go through what they are going through. And because I love this person, I’m happy that this will (hopefully) bring them a better life.
Here’s the thing that I realized as the two of us have been talking daily. Putting blame on others gives away all our power. When we blame others, we cannot change our life circumstances. Since we didn’t do anything to cause these things that keep happening to us, we are powerless to change them. We can’t progress in our lives. Accepting responsibility, also means we have the power to change the outcome.
So, what to do if you or someone you love continues to place the blame for life’s troubles on someone or something else? First, understand that blaming others has underlying causes, and is bigger than just the act itself. Have compassion for that person, whether yourself or another, and try not to turn away. This is one of those times that I believe therapy is in order. Seeing a therapist will help them work towards full acceptance of themselves, with all their frailties and faults, with compassion, and while holding themselves fully accountable.